Dealing With Wrongful Termination: Know Your Rights And Legal Recourse
Every year, countless workers unexpectedly find themselves without a job. If you’re among them, the experience can be both shocking and disheartening, especially if you believe your termination was without cause. However, you’re not powerless; you have rights and legal options to explore.
When preparing to address wrongful termination, consider the following:
- Understand The Definition Of Wrongful Termination
Before seeking an employment lawyer in Edmonton, it’s crucial to understand what wrongful termination entails. It refers to the dismissal of an employee for unlawful reasons, such as discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or disability. It also involves terminating an employee in retaliation for lodging complaints or participating in investigations.
- Know Your Employment Contract
Most employees work on an “at-will” basis. This means your employer can fire you without giving a reason. However, if you’ve signed a contract that promises job security or lays out specific grounds for termination, your employer must honor it.
Always review your contract meticulously and retain a copy. If your employer breaches the agreement, you’ve got a strong case for wrongful termination.
- Document Everything
When things seem amiss at your workplace, documentation becomes your best ally. By keeping a clear and organized record, you strengthen your position and have tangible evidence to back up your claims. Here’s what you should focus on:
- Specific Conversations: Make a note of any questionable or discriminatory remarks made by colleagues or superiors. Record the date, time, and the people involved.
- Emails And Official Communications: Save any relevant emails, memos, or other written correspondences that may indicate unfair treatment or intentions.
- Performance Evaluations: If you’ve received positive performance reviews and then are suddenly let go, these can highlight discrepancies in the reasons provided for your termination.
- Incident Records: If you’ve faced or reported any workplace incidents, always keep a copy. This includes safety concerns, harassment complaints, or any other work-related issues.
This documentation can prove invaluable for legal proceedings and clarifying events and timelines when discussing your case with an attorney or mediator.
- Seek Legal Counsel
When faced with wrongful termination, obtaining legal representation is paramount. An experienced attorney understands the intricacies of employment law and can assess the strength of your claim.
They’ll help navigate the complicated documentation process, evidence gathering, and legal procedures. With an expert by your side, you’ll be better positioned to challenge the wrongful actions of your former employer and advocate for your rights effectively.
- File A Claim With The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Before taking legal action, you often need to file a wrongful termination claim with the EEOC. They’ll investigate your allegations. Here are a few key points to remember when considering this step:
- Timely Reporting: There’s a limited time window to file a claim after the alleged wrongful act, typically within 180 days. It’s crucial to act promptly.
- Confidentiality: The EEOC is bound to keep your information confidential. They won’t reveal your identity to your employer without your consent, unless it becomes necessary during a lawsuit.
Collaborating with the EEOC is pivotal in ensuring employers are held accountable for their actions. If they find merit in your claim, they may mediate a resolution or issue a “right to sue” letter, a critical document if you plan to further pursue your case in court.
- Know What You’re Entitled To
When it comes to wrongful termination, various compensations are available depending on the dismissal circumstances. In a successful lawsuit, you might be entitled to various damages, such as:
- Back pay for the wages you missed out on
- Front pay which covers future lost earnings
- Lost benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, or stock options
If the termination affected your emotional well-being, you might receive compensation for emotional distress. If an employer’s conduct was particularly harmful or malicious, you might be awarded punitive damages. These are meant to penalize the employer and prevent similar behavior in the future.
- Protect Your Reputation
Beyond financial implications, wrongful termination can tarnish your professional image. Despite the strain, remain composed and avoid public outbursts or negative comments about your former employer on social media platforms. Such actions can further harm your reputation and might even affect future employment opportunities.
While pursuing a legal remedy, keep networking. Maintain a positive attitude. If prospective employers ask why you left your previous job, be truthful but avoid bashing your former employer.
Wrongful termination deeply affects both livelihood and self-worth. However, by understanding your rights, documenting evidence, and seeking legal counsel, you position yourself against injustice. Remember to safeguard your mental well-being and professional reputation. Stay informed, be resilient, and always stand up for your rights.